History and Mission


Ward 8 Woods Conservancy is a grassroots nonprofit organization that works to rejuvenate and enhance the beauty, ecological health, and public enjoyment of the more than 500 acres of forest in the Ward 8 section of Washington, DC. We engage residents as paid staff and as volunteers to restore the woodland ecology, build trails, and promote healthy and sustainable living.  We use the woods as a tool for healing and empowerment.

We envision a future in which all Washingtonians enjoy clean air, clean water, and connection to the natural world in safe, well-maintained public lands. By caring for this small piece of earth, we do our part in the global struggle for a vibrant and livable planet for generations to come.


Ward 8 Woods grew out of the Committee to Restore Shepherd Parkway, an all-volunteer effort begun in 2011 as part of the Congress Heights Community Association. During volunteer trash clean-ups, residents frequently asked about paid employment. The obvious demand for work opportunities inspired what became Ward 8 Woods’ signature Park Steward program, which employs Ward 8 residents who face barriers to employment in the hard work of forest remediation and trains them for these and other green jobs. 

The success of that 2018 pilot program (sponsored by the Anacostia Coordinating Council) led to incorporation of the Ward 8 Woods Conservancy as an independent nonprofit organization. 

In our first year, we received a 2019 Climate and Energy Leadership Award from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and a District Sustainability Award from the D.C. Department of Energy and the Environment.  

We are the only environmental organization focused on Ward 8, and the only green jobs program specifically for Ward 8 residents. In four years of work, our crew and volunteers have removed more than 1.2 million pounds of trash and cut invasive vines from over 5,000 trees. 

To address the root causes of dumping and littering, in 2021 we launched the #CleanItClaimIt campaign. 

As part of our mission to connect people to nature, we also run a garden program in partnership with Martin Luther King Elementary School.  

We also engage in advocacy for policies that heal the land and empower people. Our efforts center on three issue areas: parks and planning, local environmental laws, and housing justice.

© 2023 Ward 8 Woods Conservancy. All Rights Reserved.

Ward 8 Woods Conservancy